Public Benefits


Public benefits are government programs that may help you pay for food, housing, healthcare, and other basic living expenses when people experience crisis or hardships. These are government programs that will provide assistance and are designed to lessen these hardships. These programs also provide support when families work but have low earnings and when people reach retirement age.

There are two types of public benefit programs — those that provide benefits for people of all incomes and those that help people with low or modest incomes.

Programs that help people of all incomes include the major social insurance programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and Medicare.

Programs that help people with low or modest incomes are often referred to as “means-tested” programs and are designed to help lift people above the poverty line by providing different benefits to help people with food, housing, and temporary cash assistance.  These are driven by a number of factors such as family size and income.

For the purposes of this section, we will address the Federal programs and guidelines for public benefits as it relates to reentry.  States have the right to modify many, and localities can modify further, so we will address those in other areas of this website such as HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, and FAMILY AND CHILDREN.

In this section you will find information about:

  • Food Stamps
  • Temporary Cash Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Social Security/SSI Benefits
  • Disability  Benefits